WHILE finding a long-lost Rembrandt in there is pretty unlikely, the chances are your attic or garage are filled with treasures you never dreamt could be worth anything.
Comics, books and toys you never had the heart to throw out, old vinyl records and hi-fi equipment, the violin that lasted three lessons before you gave up, or the coat your mum handed down that never quite fit – it’s all worth something in the world of the auctioneer.
And it’s ironic that in these days of online shopping, eBay, recycling and up-cycling, one of the oldest and most traditional ways of buying and selling also turns out to be one of the most effective.
While high-end antiques and works of art have been long associated with auction sales, few of us think about getting rid of our pre-loved items through local auction houses, even though sales catalogues feature everything from old war medals to boxes of Lego.
If you’re buying, rather than selling, it’s also an excellent way to see the item before you bid, and the chances are you’ll find something far more to your taste and out of the ordinary than you would in a shop or online.
Liz Don from Gary Don Auctioneers and Valuers in Leeds believes that most people don’t think of auction houses when they’re trying to get rid of their unwanted possessions but would often find it beneficial to get advice from the experts.
“It will perhaps surprise people to know that we sell toys and comics, militaria such as war medals, musical instruments, vintage dresses and jewellery, and vinyl records,” said Liz.
“You’ll get more for them if they’re in mint condition, but they don’t have to be. Better to get something back for a much-loved item that’s been played with or worn but that you don’t want any more, rather than throwing it away or leaving it lying in the attic. Fashions are always changing and what you think is dated and no use might well be just what someone else is looking for.
“Many people have never even been to an auction and maybe wouldn’t think of going, yet they happily sell things on auction websites like eBay where they are guessing at prices and often not getting the best deal. At an auction house you’ll get an expert valuation, so you know exactly what to ask, and the auctioneer is very much on your side in terms of selling because we do take a commission, so it’s in our interest to get a good price.”
Auctions take place regularly and are relaxed affairs – the days of not daring to scratch your nose in case you end up shelling out for a vase you can’t stand the sight of are long gone.
“Rather than trawling the internet and taking a chance on something you’ve only seen a photograph of, it’s worth checking out auction houses and finding out about sales they have coming up,” added Liz. “If you want to sell, you’ll get all the advice you need, and if you’re buying you just come along and check out what’s on offer.”
Liz or Gary can be contacted on 0113 248 3333 or visit the website www.garydon.co.uk